Fear: Ku Klux Klan, Shabbona in the 1930 and 1940s


Newspaper coverage in local communities can be complicated, especially when looking at syndicated articles or those from newspapers published throughout the country. There were lots of choices of material to incorporate into the local paper, but editors tended to select material that would be supported by their readers.  

Western Newspaper Union, 1939.

Here is one example from the DeKalb County Express, which was printed in Shabbona. This 1935 article about the history of the Ku Klux Klan was picked up from the Western Newspaper Union which was published in Wichita, Kansas. The title is “Secret Club Formed by Six Fun-Loving Young Tennesseans Became One of the Most Powerful Organizations of ‘Regulators in U.S. History.’”  In 1945, this same newspaper reported that the Klan disbanded in 1944, but warned readers, “Don’t delude yourself that the Klan is as dead as it should be.” Reading between the lines, however, it seems to imply that the organization is still around –  just not as formally as it was before. Yet, the two different perspectives about the Klan in these articles seems to show a changed opinion from the newspaper editors. 

DeKalb County Express May 24, 1945.

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